Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

An open letter to grocery stores



Dear Grocery Stores,

I’ve noticed that over the past few years many of you (especially those that are affiliated with national chains) have moved toward discounts that are only applied to the purchase of multiple units. For example, buy two get one half price or buy four to receive a discount otherwise pay regular price. I implore you to reconsider this promotional model as it only serves to hurt your customers who need the discounts the most.

There are many reasons why these types of promotions are ill-suited to people living on limited incomes. The obvious reason is that of budget. In order to get the discount, more money must be paid up-front. Thus, more money is needed in order to save money. For someone with a tight grocery budget it may not be possible to afford to buy multiple units of a product in order to get the discount.

There are a couple of other reasons why this practice discriminates against people living on limited incomes. For many people living on limited incomes transportation is an issue. If you don’t have access to your own vehicle and have to walk, bike, or bus to the store, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to manage to lug three extra cans of beans home with you just to get the discount. Many people living on limited incomes don’t have stable living situations and may not have anywhere to store more food than is immediately needed.

Offering discounts on the purchase of multiple units only benefits those of us who are fortunate enough to have flexibility in our budgets, access to a car, and space in our kitchens. As much as most of us love getting deals, we are not the ones who truly need them. Please reconsider your promotions model. Work with the companies whose products you sell to develop promotions that don’t necessitate the purchase of multiple units to receive a discount. Do your bit to help those who need discounts the most.


Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

7 thoughts on “An open letter to grocery stores

  1. Fully agree, Diana. I much prefer the sales that offer 2 for a reduced sale price, but split it in half if you only get one. I hate the sales where you buy three of something and them get two free. I rarely need five of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a good point that I honestly never thought about. It’s something that annoys me as a consumer, but I am one of those fortunate people who can purchase in bulk if necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of my biggest pet peeves Diana thank you for writing about it. I work with a lot of low income families and this type of sales model is not benefiting the people who need it most! Grocery chains (Sobeys and Superstore) need to make a change!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great point! And also on another note, it could promote more consumption of less nutritious foods. ie. Maybe someone was only going to buy one tub of ice cream, but because of the deal they buy 3.

    Liked by 1 person

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